Monday, March 23, 2009

Unique Characters?

To me, one of the hardest parts about writing is creating unique characters. I'm always reading, so I am always finding new character types, but inevitably, I find that someone has already created a character similar to what I am working on. Of course, the character type is never exact, but close. It used to bother and frustrate me, but not anymore.

During an Ancient Egyptian Civilization course, we had a class discussion about the advancement of early civilizations. During that discussion, an argument was made that a civilization couldn't make huge strides all by themselves but had to be influenced by other societies and/or civilizations. Conversely, another argument of that discussion brought up the notion that all it took for a society to advance in great leaps is for one person to have an ingenious idea and for others to listen to and support that person. Which means, that it is totally possible for two civilizations to evolve along the same lines even though they might be oceans apart. The over all point of the discussion was to say that human beings tend to think alike, or solve the same problems in similar fashions.

The more I thought about this, the more it made sense. Think about it for a minute. Where might we be today if they actually listened to Galileo when he first proposed his thoughts? What about Kepler, Da Vinci, and all those other intelligent people who were considered heretics at the time, even though they were leagues ahead of their generation? I guess we might be a bit farther along than we are now, but maybe not.

So, if I can think of something neat and interesting, why shouldn't someone else be able to think of something similar?

When I accepted this as an inevitable possibility, I started to realize that it wasn't the character types that would be unique, but the personality that I breathed into each character that would make him or her unique. While I may find many people who think like me or experience some of the same things I do, ultimately, my voice will be different from theirs and the personality I give to a character will be different too.


Margay said...

I heartily agree, Carrie. The same is true of plot. Give five different people the same basic plot and they are going to develop five very different stories. So although your characters may be similar, how they deal with things and the outcome will not. I say continue with the characters you've created and don't worry about them being similar to others. You will find something to make them truly unique.

Carrie said...

I'm not worrying, anymore, but I was before I took that class I mentioned. I happen to be working with my characters right now, and it's getting really interesting!

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